Case Western Reserve University students who are taking a course in global issues from Mike Mesarovic this semester are truly learning from the master when it comes to this subject. Mesarovic, CWRU's Cady Staly Professor of Systems Engineering and Mathematics, was recently appointed UNESCO Scientific Adviser on Global Change Issues by the director general of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Mesarovic is internationally recognized as a leader in global issues and assessment. He is a pioneer in global forecasting through the use of computer models.
"Our approach to future assessment is based on blending reasoning with vision, scientific facts, and numbers with values and cultures," Mesarovic said.
In this new role, Mesarovic will travel to UNESCO's headquarters in Paris and will advise the director general's office on issues such as climate change, economics, population, technology transfer, and the education of women in developing countries. He has visited more than 50 countries over the last 35 years doing this kind of work. When UNESCO has concerns about what actions to take with respect to an issue, they can call on Mesarovic's expertise.
In June, the World Bank invited Mesarovic and "Sree" N. Sreenath, CWRU associate professor of systems engineering, to give a presentation on their new Globally oriented Education Network Initiative (GENIe). The UNESCO/CWRU/GENIe program is designed to educate students at CWRU and around the world on how to live and work in a globally interdependent society in the 21st Century. Students learn to combine scientific knowledge -- facts, models, and data -- with a humanistic perspective.
More than 2,000 policymakers attended the World Bank's Knowledge '97 conference in Toronto on "Knowledge for Development in the Information Age." During his presentation, Mesarovic also discussed Globesight, a software system that integrates population and economic growth models with other global dynamics issues to evaluate numerically and graphically different projected future scenarios.
Mesarovic, who joined the CWRU faculty in 1960, believes that his students will benefit from the work he does outside of the classroom.
"Involvement in real-life issues enriches faculty and helps us relate something beyond the textbook," Mesarovic said.